Ann Turner Cook

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Ann Turner Cook
Ann Leslie Turner

(1926-11-20)November 20, 1926
DiedJune 3, 2022(2022-06-03) (aged 95)
EducationSouthern Methodist University (BA)
University of South Florida (MA)
  • Educator
  • novelist
Known forGerber Baby
James Cook
(died 2004)

Ann Turner Cook (born Ann Leslie Turner; November 20, 1926 – June 3, 2022) was an American educator and mystery novelist who was best known as the model for the familiar Gerber Baby artwork, seen on baby food packages of the Gerber Products Company.[1]

Early life and Gerber Baby history[edit]

Examples of the Gerber Baby Artwork

Born in Westport, Connecticut, she was the daughter of Bethel (Burson) and syndicated cartoonist Leslie Turner, who drew the comic strip Captain Easy for decades.[2][3] The family's neighbor was the artist Dorothy Hope Smith, who did a charcoal drawing of Ann when she was a baby. In 1928, when Gerber announced it was looking for baby images for its upcoming line of baby food, Smith's drawing was submitted and subsequently chosen. It was trademarked in 1931.[4][5] The drawing of Ann Turner Cook has since been used on virtually all Gerber baby food packaging.[5] Cook's identity was a secret until 1978.[6] In 1990, Cook appeared as a guest on To Tell the Truth in a one-on-one segment.[2]

Her family moved to Orlando, Florida, later in her childhood.[2] She received a bachelor's degree in English from Southern Methodist University and a master's degree in English education from University of South Florida. She was a sister in the sorority Pi Beta Phi.[2][7]


Cook taught at Oak Hill elementary school in Florida, and then at Madison Junior High School, in Tampa, Florida.[8] In 1966, she joined the English Department of Tampa's Hillsborough High School, where she eventually rose to being the school's department chairwoman.[2] Students there dedicated the 1972 Hilsborean school yearbook to Cook, who sponsored the book. In it, students described her as "a teacher who really communicates with the students" and who, "without any complaints ... has stayed late, worked nights, and with quiet efficiency supported her staff in their monumental task".[9]

After retiring from teaching, Cook became a novelist. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, she was the author of the Brandy O'Bannon series of mystery novels set on Florida's Gulf Coast.[10] The adventures of Florida reporter and amateur sleuth O'Bannon are detailed in Trace Their Shadows (2001)[11] and Shadow over Cedar Key (2003).[12] The latter title received a negative review from Publishers Weekly, which stated the book had “An overly busy plot ... [and] is weighed down with limp prose and repetition.”[13]

Personal life and death[edit]

She was married to James Cook, a criminologist with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, until his death in 2004. They had four children.[2]

Cook died at her home in St. Petersburg, Florida, on June 3, 2022, at the age of 95.[2][14]


  1. ^ "Meet the Gerber Baby". Nestlé. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Fox, Margalit (June 5, 2022). "Ann Turner Cook, 95, Whose Face Sold Baby Food by the Billions, Dies". The New York Times. p. A29. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  3. ^ "Ann Turner Cook, original Gerber baby, turns 94". Fox Television Stations, Inc. November 20, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  4. ^ "Ann Turner Cook, original Gerber baby, dies at 95". Associated Press News. June 4, 2022. Retrieved June 5, 2022. Cook was 5 months old when a neighbor, artist Dorothy Hope Smith, drew a charcoal sketch of her that was later submitted for a contest Gerber was holding for a national marketing campaign for baby food. The image was a hit, so much so that it became the company's trademark in 1931 and has been used in all packaging and advertising since.
  5. ^ a b "Gerber Products". Archived from the original on December 17, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010. the illustration became so popular that Gerber adopted it as its official trademark in 1931. Since then, the Gerber Baby has appeared on all Gerber® packaging and in every Gerber advertisement. The identity of the baby, however, would be kept secret for 40 years, until 1978.
  6. ^ Williams, David (November 20, 2021). "The original Gerber Baby is celebrating her 95th birthday". CNN. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  7. ^ "NOTABLE PI PHIS". Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  8. ^ "Ann Turner Cook, the Gerber Baby Taught at Hillsborough High School, Tampa". Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  9. ^ Hilsboroean 1972: Volume Fifty-six: p. 19
  10. ^ Dayton, Lilian V. (August 26, 2003). "From Gerber to gumshoe". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  11. ^ Cook, Ann Turner (November 7, 2001). Trace Their Shadows. iUniverse. ISBN 978-1-4697-6663-8. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  12. ^ Cook, Ann Turner (May 2003). Shadow Over Cedar Key: A Brandy O'Bannon Mystery. iUniverse. ISBN 978-0-595-27843-5. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  13. ^ "SHADOW OVER CEDAR KEY: A Brandy O'Bannon Mystery". Publishers Weekly. July 28, 2003. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  14. ^ Winiecki, Zachary (June 4, 2022). "Original Gerber baby Ann Turner Cook dies at 95, company says". Fox 8 Cleveland WJW. Retrieved June 4, 2022.

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